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Foster: Schumann – Symphonies no.3 & 4 (FLAC)

Foster: Schumann - Symphonies no.3 & 4 (24/96 FLAC)

Foster: Schumann – Symphonies no.3 & 4 (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Robert Schumann
Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Lawrence Foster
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Pentatone
Catalogue: PTC5186327
Release: 2009
Size: 442 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: cover

Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97 ‘Rhenish’
01. I. Lebhaft
02. II. Scherzo: Sehr massig
03. III. Nicht schnell
04. IV. Feierlich
05. V. Lebhaft

Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120
06. I. Ziemlich langsam – Lebhaft
07. II. Romanze: Ziemlich langsam
08. III. Scherzo: Lebhaft
09. IV. Langsam – Lebhaft

This release completes the cycle of Schumann Symphonies performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lawrence Foster.

Modern concertgoers can sometimes find the symphonies of Robert Schumann a bit difficult to digest. It is not entirely hard to imagine why. His scoring can be quite dense, and even more so than Brahms at times, and his cyclical ideas can be lost in the vast complexity of his symphonies as a whole. With the right performance, however, Schumann’s symphonies can be invigorating, moving musical experiences that can leave listeners wishing these symphonies were performed more often. This album by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Lawrence Foster containing the Third and Fourth symphonies is not one of those performances. Foster’s tempo selections throughout the Third Symphony are intolerably stodgy, even when the composer clearly calls for a more forward-moving, sprightly approach. Foster allows far too much sloppy playing to get by; intonation in the strings is frequently problematic. Articulation is all over the place, and when Foster finally does get the tempo moving, it often sounds like 100 or so musicians all doing their own thing. Although these are big problems, they are by no means the biggest. That honor falls to PentaTone Classics’ insufferably muddy, indistinct sound quality. Full orchestra tuttis are a wash of sound in which only the occasional trumpet or flute manages to penetrate. Despite the numerous successes of both this conductor and this orchestra, they do not appear to be a good match for one another, and this album is one to skip.

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